As Jesus started to get more explicit about what was going to happen to him, nothing seemed to make sense to the disciples. Jesus turned everything upside down. The first are last, leader becomes servant, children are esteemed, and Jesus was going to die. There was no place in the disciples’ understanding of a king or messiah who would live that way.
- What is the mental or emotional picture that comes to mind when you hear the word last?
Read The Word: Mark 9:30-37 (ESV)
30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- The disciples kept silent or didn’t ask a question two times in this passage. Why would the disciples keep quiet at Jesus’ question (vs. 34)?
- What is the evidence that Jesus was focusing specifically on the disciples in this passage (vss. 31, 35)? How would you summarize the lesson that Jesus wanted them to learn?
- In what ways had Jesus modeled or taught the disciples what it is to be “last of all and servant of all”?
- Who are the smallest and least significant people in your community that you could care for or “receive” like Jesus did the child?
Respond to God
Jesus never called his followers to anything that he had not already done. He gave himself up for others, served, cared for the small and weak, and he invites all who would follow to do the same. Jesus’ Kingdom would not come through jockeying for position or power but through loving service and willingness to be last.
- Confess to God any areas in your life where you are tempted to be competitive, seek position, or get noticed.
- Ask God to give you a heart of service for others today. Pray for anyone in your life that might be particularly hard to serve.
- Thank God for the ways he has served you through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.